Searching for Myspace with John Battelle

John Battelle is the web's best "search watcher" and he's posted a great summary of recent events in search HERE at Searchblog.

I would note though that he does not address the significance and growth velocity of the Myspace phenomenon, which I'd suggest is the best, and crappiest, website in history.

Myspace proves that much of the Web 2.0 dialog is misguided, still emphasizing technology improvements over human considerations which lie at the heart of the "new" web and at the heart of the ugly but overwhelmingly successful Myspace.

In many ways I'm a big fan of Myspace as I think it's passes many of the tests that other sites fail – easy to join, navigate, and participate. It passed the critical mass of users long ago and continues to grow wildly – now with 66 million online. Myspace is a prime study in "mass appeal". It's ugly because people, on average, aren't very artistic or clever or well-organized. This aspect of the human condition leads to the web's largest collection of junky pages, and to the web's largest community of super active users.

My personal jury is still out on the "evil" side of myspace with the potential for stalking and young people mingling with unsavory or dangerous kids and adults. The user base is now so huge one must be very cautious in the interpretation of recent criminal activity at the site. Whenever you have a collection of 66 million people you'll get crime.

That said, Myspace probably has a greater community responsibility than it currently acknowledges or deals with proactively – this is certainly the case with the web at large where most onliners maintain that companies have few responsibilities outside of policing outrageous abuses of their services.

For the good of the entire online and offline community this must change, and it will change.

Newsweek: Web 2.0 = The Live Web

I enjoyed Newsweek's article about Web 2.0, which they preferred to call "The Live Web". It was fun to see several of the companies and people I've encountered recently mentioned in the article. Mary Hodder from MashupCamp was pictured and quoted as was Tim O'Reilly who I just met at Mix06.

They gave Tim far too short an interview. He is unsurpassed in his understanding of the new web but I'm guessing he was a bit too old (he's about 50?) to meet Newsweek's editorial slant on the story which was young, hip, and cool. (Whoops – they didn't mention how casual – sometimes downright disheveled – most of the new technorati tend to be.)

Newsweek's Cover girl Caterina Fake was supposed to be at Mashup Camp but missed it. I'd hoped to meet her and her husband who pioneered Flickr and then sold it to Yahoo. Caterina's blog is one of the most insightful personal views about 2.0 along with those of her amazing Yahoo tech dev co-workers Jeremy Zawodny and Danah Boyd.

Although I'm always VERY impressed with folks from Google, it's Yahoo that really seems to be aquiring the companies and minds that lie at the heart of the new Web's "social" vs "technological" emphasis.

Yahoo seems to have a better handle than Google (who in turn beats Microsoft) in understanding the implications of the vast social networking that is forming a new internet backbone. A backbone characterized by people far more than by technology. That said, I'm not sure anybody "gets Web 2.0", because it's changing fast, dramatically, and in unstable ways.

What a fun new world!

600 Billion down your own human drain

CNN interviewed the author of a book that suggests the pharmaceutical industry is out of control, beyond the reach of reasonable regulation, and suggested some "Trust busting" a la Teddy Roosevelt may be needed.

The interesting stat was that 600 billion is spend annually on unneeded drugs.   Wow.   If true that is a staggering waste.    Hey – I should start a website featuring objective information about Drugs.  It could be called Prescription Report.   Wait!  I already did that but it sucks.   I'll fix that someday.

Laziness and self interest as the means of production?

One of the most common and legitimate criticisms of both  public and private sector enterprises is that they are run in ways that serve narrow, often selfish interests rather than the broad public good.  

In the private sector this takes the form of profitability, sometimes attained at the expense of "doing the right thing".  In the public sector one often finds that spending can be very inefficient due to lack of incentives – sometimes more a function of political pressure and interest group influences than common sense and the public good.

In many cases one could argue that in business the short term return on investment is too important where in Government it's not important enough.

Whoops – I got off the point.  I was wondering about how a model of production would look if you characterized activity primarily in terms of how people *avoid* work and feather their own nests at other's expense.  How businesses use regulation to thwart competition and create unneeded goods and services.

Just a thought